Rural Monitors Launch Nkoma Advocacy Forum

Nkoma Advocacy Forum in Nkoma Sub County, Kamwenge District is one of the fourteen advocacy forums that are communities own initiatives formed by the 120 rural monitors who were trained by ToroDev in on line advocacy, monitoring service delivery using online social media/ ICT tools like Ushahidi plat form for on line documentation, visualization and mapping.
 On 20th August 2014, over forty members of Nkoma Advocacy Forum with support from ToroDev launched their forum, to get accreditation and recognition from their local leaders, and also to promote transparency and accountability among the local leaders in Kamwenge District.
During the launching, Miss Harriet Mujuni, the Chairperson of the forum indicated some of the activities of the forum. “As Nkoma Advocacy Forum, we advocate for better service delivery from our local leaders, do research concerning service delivery most especially government programs and projects,  lobby for better services from the government and also demand and promote public accountability in our district”
Miss Harriet further indicated the wide spread corruption in Kamwenge District that has hindered development. “Kamwenge District is lagging behind in development because of lack of accountability amongst the local leaders. Money that is meant for development activities has been diverted by the district workers, and no action has been taken against them due to lack of civil society to make engagements”.
The launching was also attended by Mr. Solomon Akugizibwe, the Media and Communications Officer at ToroDev, who encouraged the rural monitors to do advocacy and make their leaders accountable. “You should not stop on launching this forum but move on and advocate to making your leaders accountable. I also warn you against involving politics in your advocacy, because it may fail the forum and also divert your mission and goals”.
Meanwhile, the Kamwenge Resident District Commissioner appealed to the rural monitors to register their Forum at the District level, so as to encounter greater achievements in the district. “Forum members should register their Forum at the district and National level, so as to realize greater achievements in the district, and also have greater lobbying opportunities”.
The advocacy forums are supported by SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

ToroDev to Increase Monitoring in Kyegegwa District to Improve Education Performance

The Executive Director ToroDev, Johnson Baguma Kumaraki has promised to further strengthen partnership with Kyegegwa Town Council Local Government and the local communities to strengthen education performance through support to increased monitoring and community sensitization on the importance of education among others.
Mr. Johnstone also promised to support more community engagements with both political and technical leaders in the education sector through holding regular accountability meetings/workshops and participation on the live radio discussions.  This was revealed during a stakeholders education conference held in Kyegegwa Town Council held on 30th July, 2014.
ToroDev has been supporting Kyegegwa district local government in the use of appropriate ICT tools like local FM radios to give accountability to the local citizens for improved service delivery. Many local citizens in the district have also been trained to use appropriate ICT tools to monitor service delivery and participate in government planning and budgeting processes.
Other areas of support identified to uplift the performance of the education sector in the district were organizing annual education review meetings, lobbying for improved budgetary allocations to education sector by both local and central government leaders, regular capacity building trainings to school management committees, teachers and other education stakeholders.
              Participants discussing during the conference
The education conference organized by Kyegegwa Local Government in partnership with ToroDev and other civil society organizations like KRC, RIDE-Africa and RICNET among others also identified the critical barriers to education performance in Kyegegwa Town Council as poor attitude of the community towards education, failure to provide children with school lunch, limited career guidance and counseling of children.
Other critical barriers to improved education performance in Kyegegwa Town Council identified were failure to promote physical education, declining morality in the community leading to high levels of indiscipline and other policy challenges like high pupil to teacher ratio, poor teacher’s welfare, poor infrastructure among others.
This activity was supported by NED, SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to improve service delivery and accountability in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

“We Fought The War of Liberating This Country”, Kinuge John

On 9th August 2014, the Chairman of War Veterans of Burahya County and Fort Portal Municipality Mr. Kinuge John indicated how they fought in liberating Uganda. “From 1963, there was no peace and ownership of property in Uganda, unless one belonged to the army.  In 1981, we started a war in Katebwa Sub County that went up to 1986, when Uganda was liberated”. Mr. Kinuge was discussing on ToroDev’s supported live radio discussion called ‘Orukurato Program’, a 2hr weekly radio program that discusses issues of accountability every Saturday (08:00 – 10:00) pm.

The live radio discussion was also attended by Mr. Kahuma Andrew a builder in Fort Portal Municipality, Mr. Mukwano Ssenyonjo the Chairperson of People’s Rights and Forum for Development in Mugusu Sub County, and Mr. Happy Steven, a youth from Kibiito Sub County all in Kabarole District.
During the program, Mr. Happy Steven indicated how he started a program of sensitizing his fellow youths on development programs. “We started up groups/SACCOS for helping the youths to get loans most especially those who are carrying out farming.  We sensitize youths in these groups and also give them skills of how they can develop their businesses. We have done this in Kasunganyanja zone, Buheesi, Njarayabana, Kyamukubu, and Nyabusesa Sub Counties”.
Mr. Kahuma also indicated the challenges that are faced by builders. “As builders, we are facing challenges like exploitation by our employees. This is caused by the nature of our work that lacks employment letters, which has led to poor or no payments after accomplishment of work. We also don’t have any forum that can unite us to protect our rights”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mukwano also participated in the live radio discussion by appealing to the local citizens to monitor their services. “Local citizens have to understand that it’s their role to monitor services being delivered by their local leaders.  There is also a campaign of signing a petition to parliament against the new proposal of taxing agricultural inputs. This campaign is meant to protect local citizens who will be at a risk of food security in case prices of agricultural products hike”.
Local listeners also participated in the live radio discussion through call ins and using the SMS plat form to raise their issues and concerns. “The builders have to work with the ministry of works, so that laws and policies are improved and strengthened”, said Richard, “The money that the government is proposing to give to the war veterans is too little”, said Bashir from Mbarara District.
The live radio discussion was moderated by Mr. Kasigazi Willy Donanto and issupported by SIDA/CIPESA and SPIDER/Stockholm University on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

Local Citizens Continue to be Intimidated by Leaders While Monitoring Service Delivery

Despite strong legal frameworks aimed at empowering local citizens participate in monitoring service delivery like the 1995 constitution and Access to Information Act (2005), local citizens in Uganda continue to face intimidation and harassment from local leaders while trying to complement government efforts in monitoring service delivery.
In Kabarole District alone, local citizens organized in their citizen advocacy forums in the sub counties of Mugusu and Katebwa face intimidation and outright harassment while trying to compliment government efforts in demanding accountability through information access and sharing.
Members of PRIFODE
Members of People’s Rights and Forum for Development(PRIFODE) in Mugusu Sub County have continued to receive threats of intimidation from the police because in May 2014, they requested the OC (Officer in Charge) Police, Mugusu Sub County, Mr.  Musabe Milton to go on radio and explain why police in the area harasses people because they had gathered enough evidence from local citizens concerning police beating up people and also asking people for bribes  to follow-up cases.
When the OC refused to go on radio to explain to the people of Mugusu Sub County, local citizens organized in their rural advocacy forum called PRIFODE and reported the cases to the Sub County Chairperson who influenced the transfer of the OC Police officer and other police officers. However, the transferred police officers have continued to make intimidating calls to members of PRIFODE.
“The transferred police officers further went ahead and got our contacts, they kept on telling us that they will come back and torture us, shoot us and arrest us. The place where they were transferred had poor working environment so they call us and curse us, threaten us and promise to harm us because we are the cause of their transfer.” Said Tibenda Stephen, the secretary of PRIFODE.
“I no longer walk at night because am scared of my life , I don’t  eat any food from any place around Mugusu  because am scared that I might be given poison any time so my life is at risk because of the phone calls I receive from these people”. Said Mukwono Senyonjo, the Chairperson of PRIFODE.
Members of Katebwa Advocacy Forum
In Katebwa Sub County, Kabarole District, the Sub County Secretary for production warned local citizens against organizing citizen groups that demand accountability from government officials. “The Sub County Secretary for production informed us that the government should not be reminded of what it’s supposed to do, and that it does everything out of its own will.  When we met him in his office in May, 2014 in Katebwa, he said that we should be careful with asking for accountability from government leaders”. Said Muhindo Ezra, the leader of Katebwa Advocacy Forum in Katebwa Sub County, Kabarole District.
The advocacy forums are supported by SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.


ICT4Democracy in East Africa Participates in 2014 International Conference on e-Democracy & Open Governance (CeDEM14) in Krems, Austria

The ICT4Democracy in East Africa Network was in May 2014 represented by Johnstone Baguma of Toro Development Network and Wilfred Warioba from the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) at the 2014 International Conference on e-Democracy & Open Governance (CeDEM14) in Krems, Austria. They presented research papers on the network’s projects on leveraging ICTs to promote good governance and human rights in Uganda and Tanzania.

During the conference, Baguma chaired a session on “Citizens’ Participation in Governance Processes through ICT in Eastern Africa”. This track was a new inclusion in the conference proceedings, having been lobbied for inclusion by network members during CeDem2013.

Baguma reported on the experiences of ToroDev and the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) working at grassroots level in Uganda. His paper described the relevance of an ICT convergence approach in promoting democratic engagement. The paper also described how simple, affordable, and cost effective ICT tools are used to mobilize, activate the intuitiveness, assertiveness and facilitate local citizens’ participation in good governance processes in Western and Northern Uganda. Through basic ICT skills development exercises, citizens in the two sub-regions can now mobilize off and on – line and deliberate on key issues pertaining improvement of essential service delivery in their localities – which was not the case before the projects implementation.

Baguma’s paper also found that ICT tools have raised the sense of responsiveness amongst leaders to adhere to the needs of the electorate/local citizens. As a result, the assertiveness, engagement and public policy awareness among local citizens and how it affects service delivery was found to have increased in western and Northern Uganda.

The paper advocates for a similar ICT convergence approach for initiatives in East Africa by pointing to the steady increase in the ICT infrastructure deployment in the region and how it has contributed to ICT uptake levels despite other socio-economic and political limiting factors. The use of broadcast, online social media and mobile technologies to engage both government and the public in Kenya during the constitutional reform processes, selection of public officials and contributing to a relatively peaceful and fair electoral process in 2013, were some of the cases analyzed in Baguma’s paper presentation.

CHRAGG’s Warioba presented a research paper which covered a conceptual and technical description of how mobile technology has been used to promote human rights advocacy and protection in Tanzania. Since June 2011, the Commission has utilized a mobile phone text messaging system to facilitate and ease the reporting of human rights abuses and case handling in Tanzania.  Since its official launch in December 2012, the reporting of human rights violations in the country has more than doubled.  CHRAGG’s paper showcased the potential of ICT in promoting social and human dignity, but also encouraging accountability as far as human rights protection are concerned in Tanzania and the entire Eastern Africa.

As part of its awareness campaigns for the system, CHRAGG encourages citizens to seek redress for human rights violations particularly in the areas of poor service delivery, police brutality, corruption and employment rights citizens.

CeDem is a global forum that annually brings together ICT practioners, researchers, academicians, public officials, development partners and the private sector to discuss new trends in using ICT tools to realize improved citizen participation in governance processes and use of open data/information for democratization. The 2014 conference served as an important opportunity for the ICT4Democracy in East Africa Network to showcase its work on an international platform. The conference also served as an experience sharing forum on the challenges faced elsewhere in the world in the use of ICT for Development tools and platforms to share data/information and knowledge for transparency/open governance and enabling democratic practices to thrive through citizen participation in the governance processes.

For related analysis and publication of the above presentations, see; and

Audio of Baguma and Warioba’s presentations are available at and

For pictures, please go to;


TRAC FM launches in Fort Portal!

Trac FM is proud to announce its newest partnership with Fort Portal’s Toro Development Network office (ToroDev), in conjunction with the Rwenzori Journalist Forum. This was held at a maiden press conference at their offices on the 26th of June 2014 in Fort Portal.

Prior to the conference, a two day workshop was held in which radio presenters and NGO workers were taught about Trac FM technology and how to use it to track responses of their listeners. Radio stations present, among others, included Hits FM, Life FM, and Kasese Guide Radio.

Trac FM is an online tool that allows radio listeners to air their opinion on service delivery in their communities, with only an SMS. Radio presenters ask listeners a question, and they SMS their answer, which is captured on Trac FM’s online platform. Radio presenters then use this platform to monitor and inform the public of the results as they come in.

The Executive Director of ToroDev, Mr. Johnstone Baguma, said their goal is to improve service delivery through advocacy and promoting timely accountability in the seven districts of the Rwenzori region. Also to note is that ToroDev, in partnership with RJF has also been training radio journalists selected from the 13 FM radio stations based and broadcasting in seven districts of the region on promoting accountability for improved service delivery and broadcasting,

Similar press conferences will be held on a monthly basis, and leaders at all levels shall be invited to attend them at dates to be announced. These will include local and central government leaders (Ministers, MPs, LCV’s Councillors, LCIII’s, Technocrats, etc) and loyal citizens for giving updates and demanding accountability for improved service delivery. It will also be an opportunity to find out who is responsible for the delivery of public services and improve accountability.

This initiative will allow local citizens to interact with their leaders on issues that really matter to them as far as service delivery is concerned. The cost of sending an SMS to a poll question is entirely cost free. What the local person needs to do is listen to a local FM station every day and send an opinion or comment to the issue being discussed.

ToroDev will then publish this information to specific leaders for their attention.


ICT4Democracy East Africa October Newsletter

The October Newsletter of the ICT4Democracy East Africa Network can now be downloaded HEREThis brochure covers the activities of the network partners and focuses on how they are leveraging different ICT platforms to enhance transparency and civic empowernment. The utilized technologies include crowd sourcing platforms like Ushahidi; social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter; and digital and traditional media like websites and radio.

Highlights in the newsletter include details of KHRC’s human rights violations monitoring, CHRAGG’s progress with the complaints handling system, iHub Research’s MGovernance Field work update, TI Uganda’s toll free line, a report on citizen journalism training by CIPESA and ToroDev and WOUGNET capacity building activities during the month of October.


ToroDev Engages Kyegegwa District Local Leaders on Service Delivery Issues

Description and Rationale of Meeting

On Wednesday, 19th September, 2012, ToroDev staff held a consultative meeting with local leaders in Kyegegwa District aimed at identifying gaps in service delivery and finding appropriate interventions for improved livelihoods since government services like roads, schools, markets, health centers, NAADS, etc. directly affects the livelihoods of the local people.This follows ToroDev interventions since 2011 aimed at improving service delivery in the seven districts of Rwenzori Region. The organization has been conducting lobbying and advocacy campaigns, training rural grassroots’ populations in service delivery monitoring and conducting live radio talkshows on HITS FM and Better FM aimed at improving the state of service delivery through engagement with local leaders and awareness creation.

Gaps/Challenges Identified

During the meeting, the local leaders identified a number of gaps affecting service delivery in the district like limited access to information by local politicians from the technocrats, ignorance of the local leaders on the local government laws and policies, political intrigue and divisionism in the district council. Others included limited participation of the local rural grassroot populations in local government planning and budgeting processes, rampant corruption among the civil servants and local leaders, ignorance of the local populations on service delivery monitoring and use of complicated technical languages in Bills of Quantities (BOQ’s) making it hard for the local people and local leaders to comprehend for effective monitoring of service delivery.

Proposals for Intervention

During the meeting, the local leaders proposed a number of interventions aimed at improving service delivery in the district like conducting community dialogue meetings involving local leaders to improve participation of rural grassroot communities in government planning and budgeting processes, monitoring service delivery and demanding accountability from their local leaders. The meeting also proposed conducting monthly review surveys on the performance of the local government councils in the delivery and supervision of public services and finally the orientation of local leaders in relevant local government laws and policies, information access skills, lobbying and advocacy and monitoring service delivery to ensure effective implementation of government services in the district.

The meeting held at Gilman Hotel in Kyegegwa Town Council was attended by Hon. Asaba Paul (District councilor for Kasule SubCounty in Kyegegwa district), Mr. Ignatius Agondeze (Councilor, Kyegegwa Town Council), ToroDev Executive Director Johnstone Baguma, Listener’s Forum Moderator Mukonyezi Wilfred and ToroDev Media & Communications Officer Akugizibwe Solomon. The two local leaders will also participate on the listeners Forum Live radio talkshow on Sunday, 23rd September, 2012 at Better FM to discuss the state of service delivery in Kyegegwa District. The Listeners Forum is held every Sunday (08:00-10:00pm) on Better FM to discuss issues of Public Accountability for Improved Service Delivery.

*The article was cross-posted from the ToroDev Blog

ToroDev trains rural youth and women (rural monitors) in online advocacy for improved service delivery

ToroDev has started training rural women and youth leaders in the seven districts of the Rwenzori Region in using online tools to monitor service delivery. The maiden residential 2 days training involving ten participants was held on 16th – 17th of August, 2012 at ToroDev resource center in Fort Portal, Uganda. The training which is supported by ToroDev in partnership with SPIDER/Stockholm University was facilitated by Milton Aineruhanga from WOUGNET.

ToroDev will train 210 rural monitors and advocates in online/ Web 2.0 tools to collect, document and disseminate online public accountability for improved serviced delivery issues. They will particularly oriented on how to interact with the “Ushahidi” online platform and other relevant open-source software. The monitors were also trained in online social media tools, human rights, governance and democratic engagement.

The monitors were highly trained to be independent local citizens that will keep updating the community and project team at ToroDev about the status of service delivery and identifying communities own service delivery needs.

They will further go ahead to mobilize and encourage regular meetings and focus group discussions (FGDs) among the 14 Advocacy Forums in the region on issues of service delivery monitoring.

Rural Monitors will also advocate for quality and timely public accountability from local leaders.  They will use 11 radio stations in the Rwenzori region as a major tool for distributing/disseminating all the information accessed through online/internet and mobile phones.

This information will be converged on the FM radio stations as a way of sharing information with the rest of grass root citizens in the region, who may not necessarily have the skills and afford town or access internet based knowledge tools. The rural FM radio will be used a hub for the convergence of all ICT tools for effective service delivery monitoring in the Rwenzori Region.

Some of the sample articles posted by the rural monitors on the Ushahidi platform.

Documented by Solomon Akugizibwe

New Partner: Toro Development Network (ToroDev)

The ICT4Democracy in East Africa network is pleased to announce that a new organisation has joined efforts with us in leveraging on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to promote good governance and democratic processes.

Toro Development Network (ToroDev) is spearheading a project to promote public accountability for improved service delivery in Rwenzori region, western Uganda. The project will see the use of a local FM radio broadcasting station as a “hub” for the convergence of information and knowledge provided by internet and mobile technology tools.

Broadcast media practitioners and staff from 10 FM radio stations in the Rwenzori region will be trained on how to design programs and to broadcast relevant content and information that empowers local citizens to advocate and monitor the quality of service delivery, and 
democratically engage their leaders for development planning and budgeting. Radio staff together with rural monitors will also be trained on how to use online social media tools to undertake research, document and disseminate on FM radios information on how to demand accountability and engage with fellow citizens beyond their communities for support using ICT.

Furthermore, in partnership with FrontLineSMS-UK, ToroDev will  optimise  the  use  of  mobile  telephony,  whereby  local  citizens  directly interact with FM radio stations to air  their views regarding the status of service delivery in their communities through SMS.

Established in 2006, ToroDev works to mobilise communities, sensitise and train marginalised groups (rural women and youth) in strategic use of ICT for Development tools for maximum resources utlisation for self sustainability. ToroDev’s activities also focus on ICT-enabled innovation and entrepreneurship development, public accountability and democratic engagement for improved service delivery. The organisation has previously worked in partnership with Stem van Africa (SvA) – Netherlands, National Endowment for Democracy 
(NED) – USA, PANOS-Eastern Africa, Human  Rights Network – Uganda and Uganda Journalists Union.

At its Fort Portal town head office, ToroDev also maintains an ICT Research and Resource Centre.

For more information please visit

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